Despite rising home prices and low interest rates, more than one of every five Florida homebuyers paid cash in 1998, according to Acxiom Corp.

The real estate information service said 21.2% of last year's 319,963 home purchases were bought with no mortgage financing.

The number was down slightly from 1997 when 71,437 cash buyers accounted for 24.8% of the state's home purchases.

Florida's median home price increased 5.6% from 1997 to $95,000 last year.

Mike Ela, head of the research division, said "rich people and retirees" accounted for most of the cash purchases.

Florida communities with the highest 1998 cash rates were Miami Beach at 68.8%, Bonita Springs at 68.4%, Sun City Center at 58.5%, and Palm Beach at 51.9%.

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